AUSTIN (KXAN) — In 2017, St. Edward’s University men’s basketball head coach Andre Cook and assistant Taylor Rand traveled to Australia to discover basketball talent. They went all over the country looking for potential hilltoppers.
The first player they met was Corey Sherville of Perth, who came to South Austin and had great success with St Edward. Nearly six years later, the links between Australia and Austin are still strong.
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Jaylen Gordon of St. Edward’s University said of the similarities in Australian playing styles: “I’m definitely looking for the best shot.”
Hilltoppers junior forward Gordon hails from Melbourne, Australia. Adelaide, about eight hours west of Melbourne, is home to his two other players in St. Edward’s.
Uche and Uzoma Dibiamaka both came to the state and played college basketball at various Texas colleges before uniting at St. Edward’s College.
Of his relationship with his brother Uzoma, Uche Dibyamaka joked, “We’re almost like the same people.” Not much.”
Dibiamakas and Gordon will be joined by Blake Nielsen from Perth. Blake’s father is Matt Nielsen, currently an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs and a former Australian Olympian.
Of being in the same boat as his Australian teammates, Nielsen said, “It’s really cool to know that we’re in the same situation away from home.” It’s not quite the same when you’re sacrificing all that for a lot of losses.”
“We have a small niche in the country,” Cook said. “Maybe it’s time to go back there again.”
St. Edwards are 15-6 this season with about a month left in the regular season. They are his second-place finish in the East Division of the Lone Star Conference.